Exclusively WSBFrank Sesno

Frank Sesno

Anchor and Washington Bureau Chief, CNN (1984-2009) and Director, The George Washington University's School of Media & Public Affairs

A renowned journalist who has covered some of the world’s biggest events and most consequential leaders, Frank Sesno has a reputation for fairness and integrity that few can match.


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  • Ask for Success: How Questions Can Inspire Confidence, Mission, and Creativity at Your Organization

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    In this talk, author and master interviewer Frank Sesno explains how you can use something you probably take for granted – the questions you ask – to make your company more innovative, creative, and successful. A single, simple question can be disruptive if you know what you’re after, understand how you listen, and ask more. Sesno, a former Washington Bureau Chief at CNN and now Director of The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, is author of Ask More: The Power of Questions to Open Doors, Uncover Solutions and Spark Change.

    How can you use questions to spark creativity and increase your business? How do effective leaders learn, engage members of their teams, and inspire confidence through listening? How do questions convey trust and create empathy? This talk by someone who has asked and studied questions will provide clear examples and practical ideas to foster a more open, collaborative, and high-impact workplace.


  • Moderated Panels and Leadership Discussions

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    Few people are as accomplished or experienced at the art of moderating panels and leadership discussions as Frank Sesno, who combines broad expertise, genuine curiosity, warmth, and humor as he draws out guests and panelists. As an interviewer, anchor, talk show host, and public event moderator, he has engaged some of the world’s leading personalities on topics ranging from business to international affairs, politics to medical breakthroughs, bio-terrorism to globalization. Sesno has conducted one-on-one public conversations with such diverse personalities as Condoleezza Rice, Jack Welch, Madeleine Albright and Yasser Arafat. He has interviewed five American presidents: George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter. He has conducted high-profile panels, including a sold-out event with five former secretaries of state. And he has interviewed CEOs from Fortune 500 companies, including Bill Gates and Carlos Slim, bringing out their best and most interesting facets and creating a memorable, informative experience for the audience.


  • Telling the Climate Story in the Age of Trump

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    The new president is a climate skeptic. Several members he's selected for his cabinet and policy teams are similarly inclined. They favor an all-in energy strategy and enthusiastically embrace fossil fuels. Environmentalists and many nations view this as a ruinous course. What’s the story of energy and climate in the Trump era? How should business, science, and advocates communicate energy, climate change, and planetary stewardship? In this talk, Sesno, creator of planetforward.org, argues that, because the American public is divided and confused on these issues, there need to be distinct approaches and deliberate framing. Messaging must be driven by purpose and audience. Sesno argues that framing the story around innovation and invention can inform, inspire, and appeal to the widest audience.


  • Trump: An Unprecedented President

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    Donald Trump broke all the rules in his campaign. His presidency will be like no other. Where is this taking us and how will it change us? In this talk, Frank Sesno assesses the politics, policies, and personalities of the Trump presidency. Are they a fundamental departure from previous presidencies, or do the rules still apply? What about President Trump’s attacks on the media and “fake news”? Sesno draws on decades in Washington and his considerable experience covering and interviewing presidents to discuss the precedent, practice, and public face of the Trump Administration.

     Sesno also examines the current state of our civil discourse, and whether it’s possible to bring people together in such divided times. What questions should citizens be asking of Trump, of the media, of their representatives going forward? How can we use our questions to hold those in power to account while also listening well enough to be empathetic to them and to those with whom we disagree?


  • The Media and the Message

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    Social media. Fake news. The fall of legacy media. The rise of conspiracy media. The media landscape has never been more scrambled. Reaching the public is at once infinitely easier and agonizingly harder. Where is all this taking us? What happened to facts? How much “news” is actually in the news these days? Can the media report in ways that we will find credible? Can they “make” people listen?

    Frank Sesno has been a correspondent, anchor, news executive, and academic. This talk deconstructs the media, examining what journalists have become and where they’re going. Sesno asks, are we better off with the media we have or are we fighting a losing battle? How can we be an informed public when there’s so much out there that misinforms? This talk will surprise, shock, and anger you, but will ultimately give you hope that we’ll survive and adapt to the information tsunami.



  • Ask More: The Power of Questions to Open Doors, Uncover Solutions, and Spark Change

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